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Banner with school logo and school name and motto
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2024 – 2025

Nurse Assisting

Joanne Romanelli, Academy B Administrator – Ext. 267

Course & Program of Studies

Statement of Purpose

The Nurse/Health Assisting students care for acute and chronically ill patients as well as physically and mentally challenged individuals. The patient population ranges from infants in pediatrics through adults and the elderly in geriatrics. Clinical experience is obtained at a long term care facility.

Nursing students completing work

Exploratory Program

Freshman Exploratory is a program that provides students with a basic overview of the healthcare system and how a Certified Nursing Assistant plays an important role in the care of patients from birth to old age. Students will learn entry-level, hands-on skills (competencies), basic infection control theory, techniques, patient and nursing assistant body mechanics, safety, and communication skills. Ninth-grade exploratory curriculum includes an introduction to Infection Control (handwashing and removing contaminated gloves), use of patient equipment (wheelchairs), and vital signs assessment. Throughout this course, students will become familiarized with common medical terms and procedures used within this vocation.

Group of nursing students working

Freshman Program

This course introduces the student to basic infection control, health and safety practices that will be used initially in the shop, and then later in the clinical setting. It provides an overview of the health care system as well as detailed instruction explaining the role and scope of practice of the Certified Nursing Assistant within the system. A brief overview of home care and the role of the Home Health Aide are also provided. The concepts of patient’s needs, rights, and cultural diversity are addressed. Documentation is introduced during the freshman year. Portfolio binders will be created and maintained throughout the course. Students will learn entry level, hands on skills (competencies) and the basic theory related to them. In addition, they will learn communication and employability skills. Basic Medical Terminology is also an integral piece of the instruction freshman year.

Successful completion of freshman year is required in order for students to continue on to the Junior Nurse/Health Assisting course. This course meets the Department of Public Health’s beginning requirements for eligibility to take the state CNA exam.

Sophomore Program

Sophomore Nurse/Health Assisting course begins with a general review of the competencies (skills), theory, and documentation introduced during the freshman year, and then discusses those topics in further detail using a body system approach. More complex competencies are taught, which also incorporate the concepts of infection control, and patient and nursing assistant safety. The importance of critical thinking and observation skills are stressed.

Communication and employability skills are reinforced throughout the course. Focus is placed on guiding the students toward independent thinking and team work. Portfolio binders will be maintained throughout the course.
Basic Medical Terminology is also covered in the shop setting for one related period each day. Principles of Business for the sophomore curriculum covers the use of Microsoft Office applications and an entrepreneurial project. Additionally, students will complete Career Safe, an OSHA online career and safety training program.

Successful completion of sophomore year is required in order for students to continue on to the Junior Nurse/Health Assisting course. This course meets the Department of Public Health’s beginning requirements for eligibility to take the state CNA exam.

Sophomore Related Class 1

Basic Medical Terminology

Basic Medical Terminology is a full-year course that introduces students to prefixes, root words, and suffixes, which are also referred to as elements. Understanding, correct use, and retention of these terms will help students comprehend the theory discussed throughout the Nurse/Health Assisting program. It will also provide a foundation and better prepare students for Advanced Medical Terminology which is taught as a Related course during the senior year of the program.

Sophomore Related Class 2

Principles of Business

“Principles of Business” is a sophomore level course, which centers around principles, policies and procedures related to being an entrepreneur. Two tracks run simultaneously during this course. The first, focuses on the use of computers, understanding application, hardware, software and responsible use of technology. The course also concentrates on intermediate word processing and spreadsheet applications using Microsoft Word and Excel. Students will process business correspondence, mail merges, memos, tables, and newsletters, as well as basic Microsoft Excel functions. Through the text, “The Teen Entrepreneur”, students study the principles of entrepreneurship, small business, and start-up procedures. At the same time they choose a business of their own and prepare all necessary documents to obtain funding, research the market, gain customers, and operate the business. Students will be challenged to use creativity, entrepreneurial writing, and decision-making skills that will yield a professional business plan and marketing materials. The business plan can then be used as a guide to help operate and manage the chosen business.

Junior Program

Junior year instruction focuses on providing information to support the successful mastery of critical thinking and technical skills with an emphasis on patient care. Students learn advanced competencies (skills) which they utilize to complete patient care scenarios, while also focusing on maintaining privacy and treating the patient/client with dignity and respect. Students will obtain the required clinical hours at a Long Term Care Facility at the end of second trimester. Instruction also includes dementia care and the Home Health Aide curriculum, for which students receive certificates of completion. This course is designed to prepare the student to function independently as a skilled team member under the supervision of a licensed nurse in an acute or long term facility.

Upon successful completion of this year’s coursework and clinical hours, the student is eligible to take the Massachusetts Certified Nursing Test to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).

Junior Related 1

Anatomy & Physiology

The related Anatomy and Physiology course is an introductory course covering selected body systems. This course is a full-year course offered during the Junior year. At the completion of the course, students will demonstrate their knowledge of the systems outlined in the course goals.

Junior Related 2


Significant nutrition for individual, patient, resident and the family is identified and related to real life situations. Cultural consideration and cultural competence is important as the diversity of patient, client and resident needs change and expand. Information will be provided and through multiple learning exercises, the student will use critical thinking skills to determine outcomes. Students will also examine medical conditions which require the use of diet modification, medication and lifestyle changes. Students will determine the best options for individuals based on the medical diagnosis (es).

Senior Program

The senior year curriculum consists of Cooperative job placement or Clinical Placement. Students who meet the school’s eligibility requirements and have passed the CNA certification test may obtain a Co-op job working as a CNA in an Assisted Living Center, Long Term Care Facility, or an Adult Day Care Center. Students, who are not eligible to obtain a Co-op job, will obtain work experience at an assigned unpaid placement site.

Senior Related 1

Advanced Medical Terminology

The class is presented in a system approach. Students must understand the normal anatomy and physiology of the system to appreciate the importance of the pathology. Relevant body structures and systems are learned and then word parts are addressed. Word parts include prefixes, combining forms (root words) and suffixes. Spelling rules are reinforced and practiced throughout the cycle with a variety of medical terms. Terms can include, but not limited to, pathology, medical procedures, diagnostic exams, and operative procedures. Spelling, defining, and pronouncing terms are stressed. Writing, recognizing and spelling word parts, abbreviations and medical terms is essential in enforcing the importance of medical terms. This course studies, but is not limited to, units pertaining to diagnostic studies, pharmacology, mental illness, central nervous system, lymphatic system, oncology, infectious disease, immunity, special senses, and positioning for examinations.

Senior Related 2

Growth & Development / Pharmacology – Elective

This course provides the student an appreciation for the normal growth and development and factors that influence atypical development. The course includes a variety of topics including Healthy People 2030, Determinants of Health, leading causes of death, governmental influences on health care and cultural consideration across the lifespan. Students discuss normal growth and development; including social, language, fine and gross motor development. Students identify normal development according to developmental stages as well as recognize atypical development. They will calculate the expected growth of an infant during their first year of life. Students will highlight the stages of development and the conflicts challenged throughout the lifespan according to Erikson. In the course, the student will investigate cultural differences and the importance of cultural competence. The students will investigate the normal aging process as well as environmental factors that impact organ systems within the individual. The student will identify normal memory loss as well as problematic memory loss. Conditions such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are discussed in the course. As part of the course, the student will identify challenges of the older adult and their losses, identify the stages of grief, as well as explain bereavement and mourning. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is often utilized as it relates to a variety of the topics covered in this course.

Nursing student doing paper work


  • OSHA 10 Healthcare

  • American Red Cross CPR/First Aid

  • American Heart Association HeartSaver

  • Alzheimer’s Care Provider

  • Home Health Aid (HHA)

  • Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA)

  • Dementia Certification


Career Opportunities

  • Speech Therapist/Pathologist 
  • Registered Nurse 
  • Nurse Midwife 
  • Nurse Practitioner 
  • Physician’s Assistant 
  • Nurse Anesthetist 
  • CPR/First Aid Instructor 
  • Health Care Assistant 
  •  Home Health Aid 
  • Massage Therapist 
  • Occupational Therapist  
  • Paramedic/EMT 
  • Physical Therapist/Sports  
  • Trainer
  • Home Health Aid 
  • Massage Therapist 
  • Occupational Therapist  
  • Paramedic/EMT 
  • Physical Therapist/Sports  
  • Trainer

Post-Secondary Education

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)Many CNAs choose to further their education by enrolling in an LPN. These programs typically take around one year to complete and prepare students for licensure as practical or vocational nurses. LPNs have more responsibilities and a higher level of patient care than CNAs.

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN): CNAs can pursue an Associate Degree in Nursing, which typically takes two years to complete. Upon graduation, students are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become registered nurses (RNs). This pathway offers broader career opportunities and higher earning potential compared to being a CNA.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): CNAs can also pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, which usually takes four years to complete. A BSN provides a more comprehensive education in nursing, leadership, and critical thinking skills. BSN-prepared nurses often have more opportunities for advancement, specialization, and leadership roles within healthcare settings.

RN-to-BSN Programs: For CNAs who are already licensed as registered nurses (RNs) through an ADN program, an RN-to-BSN program offers a convenient pathway to earn a BSN degree. These programs typically take 1-2 years to complete and are designed for working nurses.